Bike Share Programs, Biking Communities Increase the Number of Women on Bikes
Sep 26, 2013, 2:07 PM
A new report, “Women on a Roll,” from the League of American Bicyclists finds the numbers of women taking to bikes is increasing, and credits bike share programs and other city biking enhancements for the uptick. The report says the reasons that women are more hesitant cyclists than men include concerns about comfort, convenience, confidence, equipment and having a community of riders to share the sport. But the report also found that increasing a community’s biking infrastructure—including bike lanes and signage—pushes up the numbers of women riders. Recent examples:
- In New Orleans, female ridership went up 115 percent on South Carrollton Street after a bike lane was installed.
- In Philadelphia, the presence of a bike lane increased female use by 276 percent.
- In New York in 2011, 15 percent of riders on a street without bike lanes were women, compared with 32 percent on a street with bike lanes.
- 53 percent of women say they would ride more if there were more bike lanes and paths.
Women, and all bikers, have even more options now. Chicago opened a 4,000-cycle bike share program this summer and San Francisco is set to launch its 700-bike program shortly. However, as NewPublicHealth reported a few months ago, infrastructure given can potentially be infrastructure taken away. A story last February from The New York Times found that some candidates for mayor of New York City, which holds elections for the post in November, have mulled removing bike lanes to mollify drivers who want more of the road.
This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.